Thursday, February 14, 2008

Swooning Over Obama

The crowd scenes strike a chord, entranced young faces and outstretched arms reaching for the figure on a stage, memories of Frank Sinatra stirring the emotions of a young generation coming of age in a dark wartime world.

They called it "swooning" then, young girls moved to tears by the promise of love and happy endings beyond the hard realities.

Barack Obama's ballad is political, not personal, but he is striking notes of hope and caring to a post-MTV generation that in the Bush era has heard only cynicism and despair. This time they are not only filling arenas and cheering but, by the evidence of recent primaries, going to the ballot box and voting.

It will take time for politicians to grasp that we are beyond demographics here into a realm where the old song-and-dance routines are not enough. Bush-Cheney-Rove replaced them with bitter dissonance and discord, but those sounds have run their course, too.

Now, a new generation that hasn't known any other kind of politics is hearing something new, the music of "Yes We Can," and their response to the rhythms is crossing over to older listeners.

If Obama can provide the right lyrics in the coming months, we may all be dancing to a new tune in November.

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